Covid and the Church: Here’s how churches in Crawley responded to the pandemic

Many churches in the region have seen their congregations affected by Covid-19, as rules for meeting people in public spaces have been strict to prevent the spread.

This has led many churches in Crawley to find new ways to serve their congregations.

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St. John’s Church

Many pastors have chosen to go online and manage their services remotely, allowing people to stay connected with their faith.

Pastor James Hamilton of St John’s Church said: ‘When we started hearing about the Covid lockdown we had three priorities at St John’s Crawley – continuing Sunday worship, enabling prayer in our church and staying connected to our community, support Crawley in any way possible.

“From the start of the first confinement, our Sundays were put online. We have been live streaming all of our services since the very beginning, thanks to our team of production volunteers.

“St John’s Online has allowed us to continue Sunday worship, stay connected to our community and continue to see growth in the number of congregations as more people join the church through online services easily accessible.

“Throughout the lockdown, the church building was open daily for private prayer, staffed by a growing team of volunteers who were committed to bringing the community into the church, light a candle and pray.

“We have been able to continue to run Alpha, a course for those exploring questions about life, faith and meaning, by moving online and seeing an increase in participation with a wider reach and more people coming at a time.

“In order to stay in touch with our community, we created a Keep In Touch (KIT) team, which made sure that everyone in our community had at least one phone call per week, making it easier to meet all the needs that we were meeting.

“Restrictions permitting, we are now hosting Sundays in person as well as online, encouraging our community to worship together at our traditional 9 a.m. service, contemporary 11 a.m. service, and children’s church and contemporary service. from 6 p.m.

“Over the past two years, we have felt more than ever the importance of coming together as a community, with everyone feeling seen, heard, and loved and able to worship together.

“At the start of the 2020 lockdown, we established Love Your Neighbor (LYN) Crawley, a partnership with 24 of Crawley’s churches united in social mission, providing support for those in debt and the unemployed, and a food supply for those who need it, including helping Crawley Borough Council with government food parcel deliveries.

“Over the past two years, LYN Crawley has spearheaded initiatives such as Love Christmas and Love Easter, with a vision to bless the community.

“Many of the 200 LYN Helpforce team members from different churches in Crawley delivered bags of kindness to designated recipients, full of goodies, just to love and bless our neighbours.

“Here’s Anna’s story of how Love Your Neighbor Crawley has been supportive during the pandemic:

LYN Crawley has gone from strength to strength and will launch the Downtown Hub, in partnership with the Easter Team Food Bank, in the County Mall on February 10.

“From this hub, LYN Crawley will provide a listening and signaling service. Anyone can come forward and be referred to relevant Crawley agencies who provide many forms of support.

Jerry B. Hatch